Maximizing Your Earnings as a Wordsmith

Daniella Cressman

So you love writing. You’d do it for free, and probably have for a long time, but, if you’re like most of us, you dream about making a living from your art. You may even be earning a bit of money already. If so, congratulations, even $20-$500 per month is a huge accomplishment in an industry that is so competitive.


According to many millionaires, it’s best to have at least a few different streams of income. This is because, if one goes down the toilet, you’ll likely have at least a few others you can rely on. As writers, this can be particularly beneficial, especially since we often have to learn how to deal with the reality of earning income unpredictably.

There are many ways to create multiple streams of income as a writer. You can freelance for magazines, write a book, and do some ghostwriting as well. You may even want to apply for a job at your local newspaper: Did you know that Stephen King once had a similar job? (I know! I’m a huge fan! I’ve mentioned him so much…) Many others have as well, and they’ve said these jobs taught them a lot about writing and about meeting deadlines.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of working for a newspaper is that you almost always earn a predictable income. The con I’ve heard about a lot is that you’re often covering horrific events, and the job can be quite stressful, because, as you can imagine, the turnaround time on every piece is short, and publishing this articles is always urgent, as is editing them so that your work represents the publication well.


Many freelance writers will actually sell the same piece, with a few tweaks of course, to more than one magazine! This helps them get the best return on their investment.


If your short story isn’t someone’s cup of tea, that’s okay. It might simply be because it doesn’t fit with the overall them of a particular issue of their magazine, or it’s just a bit too dark for their taste. Submit it elsewhere. It took me four years to get my short story published, and that was because I submitted it to at least 50, if not 100 different magazines. Never give up.


It is honestly incredibly entertaining and fulfilling to support other authors, freelance writers, musicians, and artists by purchasing their work, or at least reviewing. Similarly, I’ve found that reading other peoples’ work here on Medium is incredibly informative and entertaining in the best way. I’ve also found that, when I show interest in other peoples’ work, they’re far more likely to show interest in mine. This can lead to an increase in reviews and sales! Most importantly though, it usually leads to incredible connections withe the creative community, and I get to learn about a bunch of up-and-coming artists when they’re on their journey to enormous success! It’s a really wonderful feeling.


I’ve often heard writers say that they’re not particularly fond of math, and I totally get that — Exploring your creativity is way more fun! That being said, it’s doubly important to manage your finances if you’re a creative, especially when you’re just starting out. Also, if you ever do make it big, you’ll want to know where to put all of your funds to get the best ROI, or return on your investment: You might be filthy rich, but that doesn’t mean your assets are limitless.

Anyway…I’m getting off of my soapbox now. Basically, I’d suggest that you start funding a living expenses account if you haven’t already, set aside a bit of money for retirement, and create a budget for your expenses. For me, it’s also been enormously helpful to begrudgingly set a schedule for myself, so that I can actually treat writing like a full-time job. Some are much more disciplined than me in that regard though, so it’s totally up to you. I found myself binge-watching Netflix instead of working, so I needed a schedule!

I Will Teach You How to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi a great book about how to manage your resources, budget, and ultimately, get rich, and it actually doesn’t involve meticulous budgeting on a daily basis (You can still have some “fun money” as he calls it! I highly recommend it!

Happy Writing!

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM

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Due to the devastating fires, a lot of communities are in desperate need of financial resources. Thankfully, these are coming. The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation has awarded its first emergency relief grants in the wake of the wildfires in the area.The foundation announced this week it has already awarded $10,000 each to the Mora County Water Alliance and Visiones Collaboratives of Mora. Funds will support purchasing of essential generators to power damaged pump systems and also provide meals and shelter services for families and individuals in Mora County who have evacuated. Additional $10,000 grants will be awarded to MainStreet de Las Vegas to fund microgrants of up to $250 to evacuees and families for essential services, and to The Food Depot of Santa Fe to support meal delivery to evacuees. HELPNM also was funded with a $10,000 grant to continue its direct relief services in the disaster area."We have had a great response to the emergency fund with hundreds of donations from generous individuals, businesses and foundations from all over the country wanting to help,” said foundation chairman Elmo Baca. Emergency funding from the foundation is still available for local and regional nonprofits to apply for on a first-come, first-served basis. Organizations must be able to provide direct support of water, food and shelter to evacuees, or other essential services such as transportation and health care. Grant funds must be expended within 30 days. Interested donors may contribute to the Hermits Peak Wildfire Relief Fund at or by mail at LVNMCF, P.O. Box 1002, Las Vegas, NM 87701. Certified nonprofit organizations interested in emergency grant support from the foundation may request a grant application form by contacting Linda Anderle at or calling 505-652-0113.

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